Summary: True friendship can be found in the book of Philemon
I. The Pleasure of Friendship
A. Paul’s Feelings for the Church - vs. 1-2 affection
Paul knew the church that was meeting in the house of Philemon.
1. He called them “beloved” which is that he loved them with the deepest love - the Love of God.
2. He called him a “fellowlabourer” - On the same team, same cause!
No doubt from the passage, we find that Philemon and Paul were close.
B. Paul’s Asking for his Friend - vs. 3-4 True friends are a treasure!
A friend can be honest, and you do not stay mad!
1. His Blessings - Grace needed for the future, Peace needed for the present
2. His Intercession - praying for Philemon - It is a great joy for someone to love you enough to pray for you always! That is a friend. It was very common for Paul to pray for his friends. Do we?
C. Pauls’s Delight from his Friend - vs. 5-7
1. The Character of the Man -vs. 5 love and faith toward the Lord and church.
2. The Communion of His Heart - vs. 6 Communication, koininia, fellowship.
- one form of this word is also used to speak of giving in Philippians 4. Real love, real fellowship will always give.
3. The Comfort of His Love - vs. 7 TO PAUL (consolation, comfort)
Many were refreshed by this good, Godly man. But this good, Godly man had been done wrong.
II. The Petition for Forgiveness
A. The Offence of a Runaway Slave - vs. 8-11a
1. The Clear Affiliation - vs. 8-10 Paul led this runaway slave to Christ.
2. The Clear Abuse - vs. 11a - He was unprofitable.
B. The Opportunity to Restore - vs. 11b-17
1. The Act of Repentance - vs. 11-12
After his conversion, he was now profitable. Imagine as Onesimus approaches the house - will he be flogged? Or even worse! The master had the right of life or death over their slaves.
But Onesimus came and repented! Paul sent him back out of love for both!
Onesimus could have gone anywhere! BUT HE REPENTED!
2. The Affection of Restoration - vs. 12
Never, ever, ever forget - Restoration is not possible without Repentance.
3. The Absence of Refreshment - vs. 13-14 Paul was refreshed by Onesimus, but knew that he could not minister to him, until he made things right w/ Philemon. Onesimus had to get things right! Not right - no revival, no successful ministry.
C. The Outreach for a Friend - Paul was a peacemaker.
1. The Request for Leniency - vs. 15 He was gone for a while, but now receive him as if he were never gone.
2. The Request for Liberty- vs. 16 Let him still work for you, but accept him, not as a servant, but as a brother.
3. The Request for Love - vs. 17 Receive him as if it were me.
PLEASE RESTORE THE RUNAWAY!
III. The Pledge for Finality
A. Paul was willing to take Responsibility - put in on my account.
- Give me His Debt - Would you do that for another? THAT IS CHRIST LIKE
B. Paul was willing to give a Reminder - vs. 19
Paul had been a help to Philemon. Apparently, Philemon owed a gratitude to Paul - so on that basis - he was challenged to forgive.
Paul could have used this story from Christ: see Matt 18:23-35; Col 3:13 "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
C. Paul was willing to be Refreshed - vs. 20 (Emotions)